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I Just Bought a Werra 1

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Simon Leung, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

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  2. Simon Leung

    Simon Leung Well-Known Member

    There was only one Werra IV listed on ebay for $114.99 from a seller in the United States, but sadly it's advertised as a parts camera.

    Thank you, steveandthedogs.

  3. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Someime in the late 1970s I aquired a Werra III with all the lenses. On the plus side, it was very compact. On the unplus side, those little black lines in the viewfinder included a lot less than showed up in the negs and I just didn't get on with the "twist to wind" system. If I recall correctly, I did make a few pounds profit, when I swapped it in against a Minolta SR1s. :D
    Simon Leung likes this.
  4. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    OK, so it's not quite such a good deal but, looking at ebay prices for shipping from Europe, it's still not bad! They are lovely cameras, there's a number of people here who have or have had one, not just Steve and I!

    @RovingMike that's a new one on me - interesting styling, a bit different! I think the lens is the same as my Baldessa has, in which case you can expect what I would call "period" colour rendition - ie slightly subdued.
    steveandthedogs and Simon Leung like this.
  5. Simon Leung

    Simon Leung Well-Known Member

    Werra Cameras are not everyone's cup-of-tea but you must give Carl Zeiss Jena, credit for it's beautiful design of the early Werra 1.
  6. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    That was the thing about Jena: so many things looked good, at least a certain light, but good performance was something that happened to other manufacturers.

    Take the Praktica range: the IV was a well made camera and you can still find plenty of working examples. Then someone said "we need prettier cameras to compete with the Japanese" and out popped the "Nova" range, which suffered the unwanted distinction of getting worse with every new model.

    It was only when someone realised the current management just weren't capable of brewery party management, that the Praktica L series appeared, which really was competition for the low end Japanese products.
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  7. Simon Leung

    Simon Leung Well-Known Member

    I agree with you Andrew.

    As I was thinking outside the box was my reasoning on this impulse buy which turned out to be quite fun.
  8. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    An interesting sidelight on East German camera design is the Contax S and its successors. The first SLR on the market with a built in pentaprism, it's often claimed that it was built to plans made pre-war by the Zeiss group.

    Its appearance was decidedly striking and Japanese makers copied the styling for decades. The M42 thread lens mount and the internal auto diaghragm were copied by numerous manufacturers (notably Asahi Pentax). Clearly, this was the camera to run with, except... the mechanism was poorly designed and made from sub-standard materials: defects that were never rectified.

    My first serious camera was a Pentacon FM (a Contax by any other name) and though it served me well, it stopped working one day. I was advised not to bother getting it repaired because the only real fix was a total rebuild and even that was not guaranteed to last long. :(

    That was the trouble with the East German camera industry: marvellous ideas but rotten execution.
    Simon Leung likes this.
  9. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Sadly, this is the basic P with 2.8 Arretar, but still very nice looking with its bright viewfinder. No coupled rangefinder or meter of course. Not run a film through it, but I might. It looks in perfect condition. I'm sure he had no idea how to operate it.

    [​IMG]_7201570 by Mike Longhurst, on Flickr
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  10. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Wow - that can hardly have been touched, I can see a little grime under the edge of the top plate but, for a camera of it's age, it's in great nick.

    Are you planning on using it? If so, you know where to put the results!
    ascu75 likes this.
  11. ascu75

    ascu75 Well-Known Member

    I for one am looking forward to the follow ups and the YouTube videos :):) good luck Don
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  12. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Well I knew the guy from 1972 having married his daughter and never saw him with it. Never knew he had it. I do know that he bought a Ricoh 35ZF a bit later (sadly missing the rangefinder from the wonderful old G) but I loved it and he only used that a few times that I remember. I got that too, but the meter is dud. There's a note from him on the handbook saying £25 to repair it, which he seems not to have bothered with. Not sure I'll keep that.

    Cost of scanning 36 trannies seems to be exorbitant these days, otherwise I would certainly give it a try, but might see if my 20 year old Nikon scanner has any breath left in it (if it will talk to Windows 10 at all).
    Simon Leung likes this.
  13. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Buy a light box (well under £50) and not only can you view slides with a loupe you can photograph them with your decent cameras.
    RovingMike likes this.
  14. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Good idea. I think I'll try cranking up the old Nikon first. Found a driver online for Win10.
  15. RobertCoombes

    RobertCoombes Well-Known Member

    I began photography proper with a Werra 3 with 35, 50 and 100 lenses. Many of my early fashion shots posted here were made using that kit.Even when i was commissioned to write I still used it. But when I took on more work people would remark on the happy snappy tools and so out went the Werra and in came the Nikon Ftn. Looking through my old prints I have to check on the date to determine which camera was used.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Thing is that even though the quality of some East German cameras could be questionable at times - mostly down to insufficient development and/or poor quality materials - lenses, especially from Carl Zeiss Jena, but also for the most part from Meyer, were of very decent quality.
  17. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Too right they were. Even the lowly 3-element Meritar could produce acceptable images and in my case, it was all I could afford when I started...

    Feeding large bonfire at Kent youth hostel 1960s Pentacon FM 67-9020.jpg

    Pentacon FM 1968 01-18.jpg

    Pentacon FM 67-9011.JPG
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  18. Simon Leung

    Simon Leung Well-Known Member

    The E. Ludwig Meritar 50mm f2.9 lens was a pretty capable performer, producing beautiful bokeh of having owned a 1951 Exa Version 1 that had the sliding shutter lever with the top shutter speed of 1/150th second alongside the 1954 Exakta Varex IIa camera with the Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f1.9 Pancolar lens, a few years ago.

  19. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    My school had an "official" Exa IIb donated by a parent. The only thing I liked about it was the instant return mirror (my Pentacon FM lacked that feature). The worst thing about it was the handling, which was ghastly after the Pentacon. The Domiplan 2.8 was on a par with the Meritar.
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  20. Simon Leung

    Simon Leung Well-Known Member

    I too once owned an Exa IIb until the shutter curtain malfunctioned, next came two Exakta VX IIa cameras with pinholes in the shutter curtain in both of them and finally two Exa Ia cameras. I really wanted to love the brand but with the amount of money spent, I wound up selling the two Exa Ia cameras at a loss and the two VX IIa was sold were as parts camera.

    I too agree with your sentiment, Andrew that the Exa IIb was a ghastly handling camera, but it for the equivalent of £35 which at the time was $69 Canadian Dollars it was a bargain.
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